The Tale of Two Frozen Skunk…Fish

by Rebecca on January 22, 2010

in Fly Fishing

~The Look of Determination~

Since the beginning of the year I have snuck off to fly fish the honorable ‘in town’ Boise River….twice. The first time was a desperate expedition in bone chilling weather that was inspired by a doom and gloom thought I had circulating in my mind. A fact so consuming it began repeating itself over and over as I tried to fall asleep, as I did the dishes, as I worked, and so on….the annoying thought went basically like this: “I haven’t fished in 2010 yet.” or “I haven’t fished at all this year!” or “It’s Jan 5th and I haven’t fished this whole entire year!”

Clearly, it was a serious issue that needed remedied pronto. So I did what anyone in such a condition would do: I donned my thermals, grabbed my gear, put some some shake and bake hot packets in my pockets and went to the river.

I lasted 1 hour.

I blame Fly Fishing Santa. He didn’t bring me the waders I so kindly requested for Christmas, so I was forced to use ones I had last season. I forgot about the holes until I took two steps into the river. The water quickly and without mercy, poured–not trickled–but flooded into my instantly shocked foot zone. Once I stopped gasping like a northern pike minnow experiencing the horror of a bank rock party, I mentally decided I could suck it up and still fish.

My Frozen Fly Rod

At the point (I’d say around minute 32 during my self imposed test of mind over frozen matter) the pain in my feet became all consuming and each step became a sledgehammer coming down on my toes situation, I started debating mentally whether I really needed toes or not, all thoughts of fish forgotten now. It was all about toes, toes, toes…I finally decided I had shed the shame of not fishing this year and my toes were indeed worth a trip to the E.R. for rescue. Regardless….mission accomplished! I had fished!

As I lay down to sleep that night with my feet wrapped in two electric heating pads, a new thought struck me. “It’s 2010 and I haven’t caught a fish yet this year!” or “I’ve been skunked fishing this whole year” or even better, “You kept all your toes, ya wimp, but now you are a skunked fisherman.” That my friends is the agony of an overactive thought process.

A new desperate situation materialized. I called my dad, explained my despair and planned a new brilliant tactic. Fish with non-leaking waders.

~Fish On, Fish Off~

Unless I can count (which I know I can’t) one hook up that bend thy rod, gave me a 30 second thrill and enough time for my dad to pull out the camera and capture the moment…then I lost said thrill via a deveastating snap of line. We were skunked. We both froze. Two for the price of one sort of misery deal. (Thanks for joining me Dad!)

This morning as I look longingly out my window at the snow falling, I wonder if I should call it a season. Give it up, embrace my cabin fever and wait until it’s decent enough outside that hypothermia isn’t part of the menu. Does that make me a fly fishing wimp or am I getting old enough to wise up to potential limitations winter brings?

Of course, I know myself, if someone told me that the X spot is full of hungry trout and the fishing is fabulous, I’d experience an instant fever that no wind factor could freeze and I’d be off parting the water, kissing it with my flies and blissfully oblivious to all forms of frozen pain.

Rebecca aka “she who is skunked, she who has not caught a fish this whole, entire, long, long, year

Ohhh ~ And All Hail Ye Ice Fisherman, I bow to your polar suits and tenacity!


{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

AustinNo Gravatar January 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm

It’s because you didn’t wear you lucky yellow hat. I wear mine everytime I go fishing now. You get mad props from me for bearing the cold water/weather. John Dollar, Grizzly Jim and I went out last week and managed to catch a few, however I’d be willing to bet that our weather was a heck of a lot warmer than yours. Here’s hoping to the next fish you catch.


KirkNo Gravatar January 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Ah, yes…the trials of an obsession. It’s safe to say that your need to fish is not going to hibernate, so you need to deal with it. Clearly you were underdressed- what were you thinking? First, you need some neoprene waders for fishing in the dead of winter in your neck of the woods. Don’t bother with Goretex because by the time you get enough layers on they’ll make your butt look big. Not that…well, never mind. Just get neoprenes. And wear a warm hat with flaps to cover your ears.

I’ve often wondered and now it is clear from the photo of your rod, FLi means “Frozen Like ice”.

Good on ya for getting out and not giving up!


RebeccaNo Gravatar January 22, 2010 at 1:12 pm

@Austin ~ If you look at the top picture, around the region of my arse, you will see hanging slightly below my fly pack is my lucky fishing hat hanging from said pack. Maybe, just maybe, if I had been wearing it instead of simply bringing it along for good measure the tone of this entry would have gone different ;-)

@Kirk ~ If you look at the top picture, around the lower half of my bodily region, you shall observe waders that are indeed neoprene. I also have 3 layers of thermals, under armor and such on. I know, you don’t see an actual ‘coat’ that is because I suffer from ‘coat phobia’ and cannot stand wearing them, lest I choke to death.

I know, the quirks of fisherman. I’m sure you all have quirks as well…right??!


KirkNo Gravatar January 22, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I couldn’t tell if them hip boots was neoprene or not. No, girl, you need full on chest neoprenes. If you’re worried about wading too deep and getting into trouble, just attach a check chord to your waist, tied to and anchor on the riverbank. You’ll only go as far as the leash allows!

For the record I have no quirks. None at all.


ShoremanNo Gravatar January 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Hey Rebecca. I know it’s only the 22nd of January and your experiencing fishing withdrawl, but there’s still time to catch something this year. We in the blog community have faith in you. I, on the other hand would like it to stop raining/snowing so I can get out and catch something.



KenNo Gravatar January 22, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Wow, that is dedication (I am sure that is the term you want us to use :o )


ClifNo Gravatar January 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm

I thought I did good in getting out last weekend, but I didn’t even consider bringing my waders and standing in ice water. Hardcore Rebecca, Hardcore.


GordNo Gravatar January 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Stumbled upon your site while pursuing the addiction online, if you can’t be on the water might as well get a virtual fix. After reading many of your posts and articles my shakes have subsided and I’m in a place of peace and awe. thought is was kind of cute that you can walk in the water and you think it’s cold out. We did though get our first few fish on the morning of the 1st of January, although it was quite cold -30 celsius or around -27 F for you southerners. The nice part is the warm truck ride is only about 3 miles out on the lake to our ice fishing shack, then wenflip a coin to see who gets to go turn on the heat while the rest of us crack the thermos of coffee. It only takes about one and a half cups of joe and the holes are ready and the shack is heated. Usually by 9 or so it’s fresh Walleye for breakfast. Oh crap I’m starting to shake again…

Love your site and already bookmarked it… I also love your writing, you have a natural talent. Would you consider writing advertorials?

I’ll be back…



MelNo Gravatar January 22, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Couldn’t be happier for you that you were brave and got out on the water ‘er, I mean in the water. 2010 will be a great year for you. Us ice fisher type folks could use a break in the cold and wet weather, too!


Kentucky JimNo Gravatar January 23, 2010 at 12:03 am

“…my toes situation…” Hmmm. Never heard it put that way before. We here in SoCal are developing a nice case of cabin fever after five straight days of rain. But I ain’t goin fishin up there right now, Rebecca. That’s what tie flying is for.


SwittersNo Gravatar January 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Hat! Warm hat! As one who has stumbled about with frozen toes, I totally relate to the need to be out, even catch a fish. Times wasting. The itch persists. And, then what a klutz I become as hypothermia sets in. Nice writing! Wear a hat…and not a BBall cap until 50> degrees…Course you Idahoan girls are hearty aren’t you?


JohnNo Gravatar January 23, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Hey, you got out there and got some great pictures, Thats a great day! Fishing in extreme cold takes alot out of a person, outfit accordingly and be safe! Kudos for getting out there, it can be some prime fishing.

ps. Cotton kills! Luv my Merino wool socks and my under armor knock off’s!


WolfyNo Gravatar January 23, 2010 at 10:21 pm

The fact that you even thought about going out ought to count for something! Things WILL warm up, and the fish WILL bite – just wait



trout whispererNo Gravatar January 25, 2010 at 7:09 am

sometimes we want of the fishing,and others its the fish…we want a fish….the event is not enough without the actual reality of a fish…so dont quit until you get one…..go get yourself a trout….and sate that desire…no matter the temp…..the cold or what have you…..set the hook sister….all the way into your minds creel…….


ColoradoAnglerNo Gravatar January 25, 2010 at 10:52 am

Niiiiice! Sub-freezing temps? HA! Being able to get out and throw a line knows no bounds. Yup, you’re an addict.

Keep tossing that line!


ChrisNo Gravatar January 25, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Wow, I love this Rebecca! Great new blog. I’ll be popping this one in my reader also.


Pokagon IndianNo Gravatar January 31, 2010 at 6:01 am

bohzo (hello)

Fly fishing is so much fun, well I should say any type of fishing. I do not know about when it’s freezing. Great blog.

Megwitch (Thank You for sharing)

Have a great day!


MarciaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 10:50 pm

I simply wanted to say your website is one of the nicely laid out, most inspirational I have come across in quite a while. Thx! :)


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